“As we continue to work to diversify and grow New Mexico’s private sector economy, we are proud to welcome California-based Franco Whole Foods to Las Cruces,” Martinez said. “Results like this show that diversifying our economy by competing for jobs and attracting new businesses pays off for our families and communities.
“Creating these jobs is a partnership between the city, county and state.” she added. “We have to put our dollars together … we have to diversify our economy.”
Franco and his brother, Gus Franco, the president of the company, said the San Diego facility was shipping some 650,000 packages of tortillas per month. The need to increase production and have better access to shipping corridors in the Southwest and states farther east made Las Cruces a natural pick.
They also plan to offer organic tortillas in the future. And, they’ve already been in discussions to expand the Las Cruces facility at 875 W. Amador Ave.
An added bonus is that the Francos have family roots here in the Mesilla Valley.
“We looked at El Paso, but El Paso has changed,” Mike Franco said. “I said, ‘let’s look at Las Cruces.’ Let’s bring our business back home.”
The location did not come easy. It took the work of the city, state and the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance to bring the project to fruition.
“This is the result of close work between the city, state and private sector,” said city councilor Nathan Small, whose City Council district encompasses the new factory. “We welcome this new enterprise to Las Cruces and to a location where transportation, the city center, and reinvestment meet. We worked with the company’s representatives and the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance to protect the public interest, welcome private investment and expand our economy.”
Davin Lopez, president and CEO of MVEDA, praised the collaboration and welcomed the business and what he said would be well-paying jobs.
“This will be a vibrant, grade-A food processing facility,” he said. “You might think this company came and immediately found the perfect facility. That is not so.” The city, state and private banks all played a vital role in luring the business to Las Cruces, he said.
Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, whose first job was working at Taco Bell, believes Franco Whole Foods will have a perfectly trained work force when they begin to hire.
“I know, Mr. Franco, you are going to be providing many good jobs to Las Cruces,” the mayor said. “You are going to have a great work force.”
“People from all around our county can come work here,” he said. “Our commitment is to see that this facility has everything it needs to succeed.”
Jason Gibbs may be reached at 575-541-5451.
Applications are being gathered by MVEDA and hiring information should come within the next couple of weeks. Here is MVEDA contact information:
277 E. Amador, Ste. 304 P.O. Box 1299 Las Cruces, NM 88004-1299